A new report finds that the current House of Representatives is the most anti-environmental in US history, having voted 247 times to undermine environmental and health protection in the last 18 months. Nearly one in five of the 1,100 legislative roll call votes so far this Congress – 19% – were votes to undermine environmental protection. While this is a record, it is by no means a new trend that the Republicans in the House vote consistently against environmental protection.
The report, prepared by the Democratic staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee, also found that the oil and gas industry has been the largest beneficiary of the anti-environment House votes. The House has voted 109 times on legislation that would enrich the oil and gas industry, including 45 votes to weaken environmental, public health, and safety requirements applicable to the oil industry, 38 votes to prevent deployment of clean energy alternatives, and 12 votes to expedite review of the Keystone XL pipeline.
“House Republicans are putting the interests of oil companies and other big polluters over the health and safety of Americans and their families,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member. “They have voted to reverse decades of efforts to ensure that families have clean air to breath and clean water to drink. They have voted to deny the science of climate change, defund investments in clean energy, and open vast areas to new oil drilling. The assault on the environment has been relentless and reckless and would make our country more polluted and less productive.”
Clean air, clean water, climate change, and the EPA were all the targets of votes, including:
77 votes to undermine the Clean Air act, including blocking the EPA from regulation of toxic mercury and others aimed at bolstering health-based standards; and
31 votes to weaken the Clean Water Act, weakening the EPA’s ability to stop mountaintop removal mining disposal, protect wetlands, and set water quality standards.
Besides weakening regulatory bodies, Republicans repeatedly voted to cut the budgets of environmental oversight by the EPA, the Department of Energy and the Land and Water Conservation Fund.